Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a popular weight-loss supplement with antioxidant properties. It occurs naturally in our bodies, where it is essential for aerobic metabolism, and also, as an antioxidant, prevents cellular damage.
Read on to learn all about the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid and whether taking alpha-lipoic acid before bed is a good idea.
What Is Alpha-Lipoic Acid?
ALA is also known as lipoic acid, and it is an organic compound that contains sulfur. It is derived from caprylic acid, and its synthesis occurs in mitochondria. There, ALA activates several messaging pathways, assisting the nutrient breakdown and helping maintain the energy homeostasis.
Thanks to ALA’s antioxidative properties, this compound plays a vital role in eliminating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and preventing cellular damage.
Only the R-enantiomer is present in nature, and it occurs in plant and animal species. Although it is a naturally occurring substance, many people have suggested additional benefits of using ALA supplements.
So, does taking R-alpha lipoic acid (R-ala) before bed have any benefits?
ALA Supplement Benefits
It appears that ALA supplements could bring several health benefits. Firstly, since ALA has antioxidative effects, it could help people with impaired immune systems, such as HIV patients. In addition, anti-inflammatory effects are important for protecting the liver against diet-induced damage and non-fatty alcoholic liver disease.
Regular supplementation with ALA has been observed to help with insulin resistance and improve symptoms of diabetic polyneuropathy. One of the key symptoms of diabetes is high blood sugar levels, and this excess glucose can actually damage nerves in your body. Polyneuropathy means that all the nerves are affected, and it can lead to chronic pain, numbness, or loss of function in certain parts of the body.
Some studies show ALA’s potential to increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Excess blood sugar causes narrowing of the blood vessels, so these effects could decrease the risk of damage to the walls of arteries and increase the supply of blood and oxygen throughout the body.
The anti-inflammatory effects suggest that ALA supplements have a potential role in the treatment of many diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but the results are mixed.
Active people may benefit from ALA supplementation since it can increase the uptake of glucose and creatine in skeletal muscle cells. That can result in enhanced endurance and strength. In addition, taking ALA during intensive training sessions can reduce muscle damage and inflammation, which significantly cuts down on recovery time.
Lastly, research shows that ALA has a small but significant potential to aid weight loss, which is what most people are using it for nowadays.
There isn’t an official recommended dosage for ALA, but most supplement brands recommend taking 200-600 mg per day. These doses seem to be safe and effective, but some studies have observed no adverse effects, even with much higher doses. However, there is such a thing as too much ALA, as experiments in rats show that high doses such as 100 mg per kilogram of body weight per day can lead to protein oxidation, which is the opposite of desired antioxidative effects.
Higher doses of ALA additionally increase glucose uptake and lower blood sugar, making you tired unless taken with meals. Also, people who take diabetic medications should consult with a doctor before taking ALA supplements since it can significantly enhance the efficacy of these medications.
Studies suggest that taking ALA on an empty stomach can increase its bioavailability. However, it may be a good idea to play it safe and take it before a meal or snack.
If you’re thinking, “So, can I take alpha-lipoic acid before bed?” – continue to our next section to find out.
ALA Morning vs. Night
Is alpha-lipoic acid better to take in the morning or before bed? That is the main question for many people trying to lose weight with these supplements.
Since ALA can lower blood pressure, taking it in the morning can be counterproductive unless you pair it with a big breakfast. You can also take L-carnitine with it, as this combo can boost alertness and clear that morning brain fog. It appears to be an excellent morning coffee substitute for all people trying to ditch caffeine.
It seems that taking alpha-lipoic acid before bed has more benefits, as even if your blood sugar dips and you feel a little light-headed, it is not a big issue unless you’re diabetic (diabetics should ask their doctor before using ALA at all). In fact, it can help people fall asleep easier. In addition, ALA supplements can also support glycemic control and boost fat-burning during sleep.
In conclusion, you can take alpha-lipoic acid before bed for maximum health benefits.